Obama ratings take hard hit in tough first year

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Washington, Dec. 30 (ANI): President Barack Obama's ratings have dropped dramatically in the face of rising unemployment, a slipping legislative agenda and painful decisions on health care, the economy and the war in Afghanistan, suggesting that he has been hard hit during his first year in office.

According to the Washington Times, his support has faltered on all those key issues - and from both ends of the spectrum. Opponents blame him for expanding the size of government while some in his Democratic base accuse him of not pushing hard enough for his agenda.

As Mr. Obama leads his party into next year's congressional elections, pollsters say, his overall approval rating - down to an average of 48 percent from 67 percent in January, according to Pollster.com's aggregate of several national polls - likely will be tied to the unemployment rate, which hovers at 10 percent.

"The economy may be growing and the recession may be over, but on Main Street, people who are unemployed are not happy and people who are worried about being unemployed are not happy," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Only 44 percent of Americans approve of Obama's handling of the economy, compared with 59 percent in February, when he signed the 787 billion dollar stimulus package, according to National Journal's Pollster.com.

Support for Obama's handling of his marquee health care initiative, now nearing final approval in Congress, stands at 41 percent - down from 57 percent in February.

Democratic leaders and the White House have suggested that the lack of public backing for the health care bill will change once it has been passed and blame Republicans for spreading misinformation about what's in the legislation.

Democratic pollster Tom Jensen said he doubts Obama will see any short-term gain from signing health care reform into law, arguing that independents and Republicans who overwhelmingly oppose the bill are not likely to be swayed.

Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, said: "What's ultimately going to decide Obama's fate with those folks is if the economy turns around or not."

He further said the 2010 midterm elections are likely to be "brutal for Democrats" but that it won't be solely a result of Obama's approval ratings.

On Afghanistan, Obama has the approval of sixty-two percent of the voters approved of his February decision to send an additional 17,000 troops to the war-torn country and 58 percent said in early December that they support his move to send 30,000 more, according to Quinnipiac.

But in a later Quinnipiac poll, only 47 percent approve of Obama's handling of the war overall.

Results from Gallup are even more stark:

Obama's approval on Afghanistan plummeted from 56 percent in mid-July to 35 percent in late November. However, 51 percent said they approved of the 30,000-troop surge in a poll taken after Obama's Dec. 1 announcement. (ANI)

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